The N.C. State softball team exploded for eight first-inning runs en route to a mercy shortened 13-5 win over Elon, while the Pack nine whomped Wilmington 11-2 to mercifully end a six-game slide. The ladies launched a season-high four home runs, including two from Renada Davis. For the men, Trea Turner went yard for the third consecutive game.
The Pack (20-10) women also got home runs from Leah Jones and Morgan Medford. Medford's blast came in the freshman's fourth career at bat. Davis is up to nine bombs on the season, and though that's well off the pace that saw her leave the yard 26 times a year ago, she will carry a healthy 1.150 OPS into State's weekend series at Maryland.
The Terps have wins over two decent programs in South Carolina and North Carolina, but that's it. They are 2-24. The Pack are 16-1 at home but winless (0-4) on the road; that will need to change this weekend for State to stay in the race for the #1 seed in the ACC tournament.
Turner's 2-for-5, five-RBI day highlighted the win over Wilmington (11-12). In addition to his two-run jack that staked the Pack (15-8) to an early 2-0 lead, Turner ripped a two-out, bases-clearing double to put his team up 7-2 after six. He took over the team lead in RBI (17) and upped his OPS to .865 with six total bases in five at bats.
Brett Austin reached twice via walk and had a hit and two runs scored from the leadoff spot. He sports a robust OB% of .465. Carlos Rodon had a hit and a walk as the DH and has a .977 OPS in limited duty as a hitter. Preston Palmeiro had his first collegiate extra-base hit, a two-run double, as a pinch hitter.
This may be burying the lede, but perhaps the most notable development from the Pack nine's midweek tilt was not Turner's continued torrid pace, but rather the apparent shakeup of the pitching staff. Normal weekend starters Logan Jernigan and Brad Stone, both of whom have struggled mightily of late, worked the midweek game. Jernigan started and was not very impressive, yielding three hits and two earned runs in 2.1 innings. He did limit his walks to one and didn't hit anybody while striking out three, so it wasn't all bad. Stone didn't allow a run in 3.2 innings, but he did walk four and hit a batter. He threw 66 pitches, so it seems very unlikely that he toes the rubber this weekend against Miami.
Jernigan was limited to 44 pitches, so perhaps he was just getting in some extra work and will take a turn on the weekend. But I doubt it. I think both he and Stone have been demoted, and my best guess is that Andrew Woeck (3-0, 1.25 ERA) will make his first start of the season Saturday and erstwhile midweek starter Patrick Peterson (1-0, 4.50 ERA) will toe the rubber on Sunday. Jon Olczak, who worked a scoreless ninth against the Seahawks and hasn't been scored upon in eight appearances, will likely take on the closer's role if Woeck heads to the rotation.